Report: Modeling, simulation could have helped during Gulf War

An interim Pentagon report on Gulf War Illness concluded that advanced modeling

and simulation technologies could have warned military officials about the

risks posed to troops during air attacks against Iraq's chemical and biological

weapons facilities.

The "information paper," released Feb. 24 by the Pentagon's Office of

the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses, contradicts 1997 press accounts

that mistakenly cited a report produced by the Lawrence Livermore National

Laboratory as evidence that air campaign planners had prior knowledge of

chemical and biological warfare risks associated with bombing Iraqi facilities.

"Our investigation concluded that the Lawrence Livermore report did

not model possible dispersion of chemical of biological warfare agents caused

by attacks on Iraqi chemical and biological warfare facilities," wrote Bernard

Rostker, the Defense Department's special assistant for Gulf War Illnesses.

"Research indicates that several government agencies conducted computer

modeling and simulation of attacks against Iraqi targets," stated Rostker.

"None of these efforts attempted to show the results of the dispersal of

chemical or biological warfare agents."

Since the war ended, thousands of veterans have complained of mysterious

ailments and disabilities that some experts believe may be related to exposure

to chemical and biological warfare agents.

The modeling for the Gulf War air campaign began in late 1990 in the

Pentagon under the direction of an air staff organization known as Checkmate,

supported by the Air Force Studies and Analysis Agency. Rostker's investigation,

however, found that modeling and simulations were conducted not out of concerns

related to the bombing of chemical and biological warfare targets but about

aircraft and aircrew losses. In fact, the computer-driven simulations were

derived from the Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence Simulation

Model, known as C3ISIM, according to the investigation.

"This model [C3ISIM] is a classic attrition model which simulated flying

specific aircraft missions during which the aircraft were exposed to enemy

air defenses," the information paper states.

The Pentagon investigation also looked at the modeling capabilities

of the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

"Until after the Gulf War, the Defense Intelligence Agency had no in-house

capability to assess the effects of weapons of mass destruction, but relied

on Defense Nuclear Agency modeling, which was not used to predict hazards

to coalition forces from coalition air attacks on Iraqi targets," according

to the report, adding that an experienced modeling contractor said the CIA

"had some capability to conduct hazard prediction modeling."

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